Learning more about your shared history and ancestry is a great way to bring a family together. When was the last time you or your kids chatted with your grandparents about how they grew up, what brought them to live in their current town or what their parents were like? We all get so busy and focused on the present that it can be hard to take the time to reflect on where we came from. This year, sit down as a family with some of your relatives, and challenge yourselves to learn a bit more about the story that brought you all together.
With all the TV shows and computer games out there, it isn't hard to get kids to play by themselves. But they aren't necessarily playing in ways that nurture their minds and bodies. And when was the last time you took a moment to unwind and enjoy the playful simplicity of being a kid? Arranging a weekly games night is a wonderful way to get everyone together and have fun in the process. Whether you all are fans of intellectual games, artistic games or talking games, so many great options are out there, so have some fun this year with a family games night!
You may find you're constantly driving the kids to and from activities, and you might even manage to squeeze in a few trips to the gym for yourself, but when was the last time you all took part in a fun fitness activity together? As parents you're often encouraged to get your kids active, and as adults you're constantly told to work out regularly, but the benefits of challenging yourselves as a family aren't stated nearly enough. When you exercise as a family, it really doesn't have to feel like work. You can head to the park for a game of Frisbee or soccer, or sign up for a cool dance class at your local community centre. Whatever activity you choose, getting fit together will be a fun, new experience.
Coming up to you out of the blue to talk about something upsetting can be hard for most kids to do, and that could mean they choose to not talk about what's bothering them at all. But not talking about problems that are upsetting them is never the answer. That's why setting up regular family meetings is so important. It gives everyone in your family unit an opportunity to voice his or her concerns and have them addressed. Problems that aren't discussed will only continue to fester and become more painful, so encourage talking about them now, before it's too late.
If you eat dinner in front of the TV or have a teen who prefers to take his dinner to his room so he can eat in front of the computer, you aren't alone. But these habits don't foster the best family bonds. Although it can be nice to enjoy a movie or some alone time here and there, meals are important for family bonding. Because mornings are busy and afternoons are often spent apart, most family mealtime opportunities happen at dinner. So make it a priority to eat as many dinners as possible together as a family this year. It's a small change that can make a big difference.
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